The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

February 20, 2011


U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay keeps Lake Erie inlets out of a jam

CONNEAUT — Gliding over the ice it was sent to destroy, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay was on a mission.

The crew of the Neah Bay (pronounced NEE-ah) patrolled the Grand River area in Conneaut on Saturday morning, busting chunks of ice as it went to make a path for commercial ships and stopping to clear out the chunks of ice that were blocking inlets along the coast, Coast Guard Lt. Jr. Grade Jonathan Tice said.

“As the ice on the water melts and breaks from big sheets into smaller chunks, it floats toward the inlets to the rivers,” he said. “When the ice forms at the mouth of a river, it creates an ice plug, which backs up the natural flow of the water and can create floods in the area.”

Tice was on the ice breaker the Morro Bay in Cleveland on Saturday, working on the same ice-breaking jobs. The Morro Bay is based out of New London, Conn.

Tice said the “cutters” slide over and bust up ice, thick or thin, every day if necessary.

“We go where the ice is,” he said. “How difficult is it? That depends on the thickness of the ice and the force of the wind. But it’s easier to go on top of the ice than to try to go through it. Brut force through it is just not as effective.”

Tice said the ice on Lake Erie was six to eight inches thick on Saturday, but that fact was melting fast.

“The warm weather this week melted the ice a little, but next week it could be cold again, so we’ll see how thick the ice ends up,” he said.

Tice said the Coast Guard’s six ice-cutting ships in the Morro Bay and Neah Bay class have serious jobs to do all winter long.

“Because of the ice, smaller boats in the Coast Guard search and rescue teams are taken out of the water and the ice breakers pick up that duty,” he said. “So our primary duty, I would say, is to go out and perform those rescue duties in place of the smaller boats that can’t navigate in the ice-choked water.”

Along with flood relief, the cutters also keep commercial lanes open for tankers and coal carriers, which still operate on Lake Erie in the winter. When another ship is stuck on the ice, it’s the cutters that come to the rescue to pull them out.

“Residents in the area may see our ice cutters out on Lake Erie throughout the winter and spring,” Tice said. “We will come and go until the ice melts and we aren’t needed any more.”

Text Only
Local News
Canoe Race and Ashtabula Easter Events
Good Friday Cross Walks and Easter Egg Hunts
Spring Comes Alive
Ashtabula Spring Cleaning
The Taping of the Teacher: A sticky Sitation
Saturday Fun in Ashtabula County March 22, 2014
American Red Cross Ashtabula County Heroes Breakfast
Rotary Club Dodge Ball Tournament
18th Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Geneva State Park
End of year weather extremes
Christmas 2013
Harpersfield Barn Fire
Route 11 Rescue Plymouth Township
Ashtabula Fire
House Ads
AP Video
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday